One of the things that drives me crazy as a performance person is handler errors. To clarify – it drives me crazy when I make handler errors. I feel empathy when others make them.
In Obedience and Rally, handler errors most often mean points off. Precious, lovely, points that just go away – never to return.
If I’m going to lose points in the ring, I want to lose them for things I can’t control in the moment – like a hairball that looks like string cheese rolling in front of my dog just as I've thrown my dumbbell (guess which one Maggie chose to look at?).
I DON’T want to lose them for things I can control in the ring – like failing to return to my dog properly after a stay, or forgetting what a Rally sign means.
I’ve made more than a few mistakes in the ring. In addition to reading the regulations and practicing exercises as if I’m in the ring, I’ve tried to figure out ways to improve my performance. Probably none of these is a completely original idea, but I thought I’d share a few things that have worked for me. I’ll post these “Handler Helpers” over the next couple of months. Stay tuned for: dumbbell throwing, Rally practice, figure 8’s, footwork, etc. Hopefully the things I've worked on to correct my handler errors can help others....
I practice these things so I don't feel like this in the ring!
And trust me, this image isn't so far from the truth....